Seeking a Friend for the End of the World Review
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Every once in a while, you might come across a film that defies categorization—a film that mixes genres in a way that keeps audiences guessing. Usually, it’s an art-house film—a labor of love by a group of young filmmakers. Often, it’s not entirely successful. Rarely do you find a surprising genre-bending film that makes it to a wide release—like writer/director Lorene Scafaria’s unexpected end-of-the-world-dramatic-road-trip-romantic-comedy, Seeking a Friend for the End of the World.

When scientists announce that a massive asteroid will destroy the planet in just three weeks’ time, chaos breaks loose. While some people cling to their normal, everyday lives, others let loose, doing all of the things that laws, morality, and common sense once prohibited. Dodge (Steve Carell), meanwhile, just feels lost. His wife is long gone, and he doesn’t really have anything else that he wants to do.

As riots rage on outside his apartment, Dodge discovers a letter from the love of his life. Encouraged by his neighbor, Penny (Keira Knightley), he decides to spend his last days reconnecting with the one who got away. And, in exchange for Penny’s help, he agrees to take her to a plane that could get her back home to see her family one last time. But their end-of-the-world road trip ends up taking them places that they didn’t expect.

Seeking a Friend for the End of the World goes in all kinds of places that you might not expect. Depending on which of the film’s trailers you’ve seen, you might be expecting an end-of-the-world drama about a couple of lonely, desperate people, or you might be expecting a wacky road trip comedy. Actually, it’s both—and much more. At times, it’s absolutely hilarious, as Dodge and Penny encounter different people with various perspectives on their last days on Earth. At other times, it’s surprisingly dramatic, as the two look back on their lives, assessing their mistakes and regrets. And, somehow, Scafaria (who wrote 2008’s Nick and Norah’s Infinite Playlist) manages to blend the eerie desolation and hopelessness of a doomed scenario with a solid sense of humor (and plenty of hilarious surprises), giving the film a surprisingly comfortable tone.

Of course, the charming cast doesn’t hurt, either. Carell plays the lovable sad sack remarkably well, while Knightley makes her character’s random mood swings work perfectly. Even Rob Corddry gives an entertaining performance in his small role as Dodge’s good friend, Warren, who’s decided to throw all caution to the wind.

Underneath it all, though, it’s thoughtful and clever—the kind of movie that will make you stop and think about how you might react, given the situation. If you knew that the world was going to end in just three weeks, what would you do? Would you keep showing up for work, finding comfort in your daily routines, or would you let loose and do everything you’ve always wanted to do? Along the way, you’ll find plenty of examples of every possible kind of reaction.

Outlandish at times, grim at others, Seeking a Friend for the End of the World definitely isn’t the typical mainstream release. Instead, it’s both sweet and funny—a refreshingly unconventional road trip adventure.

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